[Politech] Is anti-Google California senator a privacy hypocrite? [priv]

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Tue Apr 13 2004 - 22:53:10 PDT

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    Liz Figueroa is a Democratic state senator from Fremont, a Silicon 
    Valley town just across the bay from Google's headquarters in Mountain 
    View. She doesn't like Google's Gmail much at all, saying that its 
    ad-supported free email feature violates customers' "expectation of 
    privacy." See her press release:
    But if you take Figueroa's complaints on their own terms, she may be 
    more guilty of violating Internet users' privacy than Google.
    Figueroa's web site solicits feedback in a form that asks for personal 
    information including home address and email address -- but it includes 
    no privacy policy:
    So she and her staff can do whatever they want with the information and 
    other data, such as IP address, available through the server's web logs. 
    Gmail, on the other hand, is a far better Internet citizen: it has a 
    detailed privacy policy and terms of service agreement specifying what 
    Google can and can't do:
    Figueroa happens to be the same politician that US PIRG calls a "privacy 
    champion," and that Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has "commended":
    These same pro-regulatory activists have denounced companies for not 
    having adequate privacy policies. A report from Privacy Rights 
    Clearinghouse complains that one-third of commercial websites "post no 
    privacy policies at all," a supposedly "dismal" finding:
    Anyone think Privacy Rights Clearinghouse will denounce Figueroa too?
    At the federal level, Figueroa's conduct would be verboten. A 2000 OMB 
    policy requires all federal agencies to publish clear privacy policies 
    on their web sites and comply with them:
    Perhaps Figueroa will say in her defense that nobody is forcing people 
    to use her web site; it is entirely voluntary. That would be true. But 
    of course the same thing can be said about Google and Gmail too.
    PS: Google is considering changes to Gmail:
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